The Electromagnetic Spectrum
Light, Sound and Waves

Things you'll need to decide on as you plan: Seeing with Light

Teaching Guidance for 11-14 Supporting Physics Teaching

Bringing together two sets of constraints

Focusing on the learners:

Distinguishing–eliciting–connecting. How to:

  • identify source and detector
  • separate luminous from non-luminous
  • draw out children's ideas about seeing
  • connect seeing to the source–medium–detector model
  • build an explicit model of seeing

Teacher Tip: These are all related to findings about children's ideas from research. The teaching activities will provide some suggestions. So will colleagues, near and far.

Focusing on the physics

Representing–noticing–recording. How to:

  • construct the source–medium–detector model
  • show illumination as a process where something travels
  • build a correct model of how illumination diminishes
  • emphasise that there is a finite trip time from source to detector
  • draw out the role of light in enabling seeing
  • bring to mind the role of reflection in seeing luminous objects

Teacher Tip: Connecting what is experienced with what is written and drawn is essential to making sense of the connections between the theoretical world of physics and the lived-in world of the children. Don't forget to exemplify this action.

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